Vegan “The greatest of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”(Mahatma Gandhi Quotes) Gandhi said this in his book, The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism, this belief is still valid in today’s modern society. At the present time in the United States, the concern for the health and well being of animals is drastically increasing. And one of the most substantial indications of this is the increasing number of vegans and vegetarians in our nation. Today there are over half a million vegans and countless millions of vegetarians in the United States alone. There are several different kinds of vegetarians following this practice.
A vegan consumes no foods of any kind produced by animals. An ovo-vegetarian eats eggs, but no dairy foods or animal flesh. A lacto-vegetarian eats dairy foods, but no eggs or animal flesh. A lacto-ovo-vegetarian eats dairy foods and eggs, but no animal flesh. These people are most commonly referred to as just vegetarians.
A semi-vegetarian eats dairy food and egg and occasionally includes fish or chicken but no other animal flesh.(Seameons,p2) Aside from dietary habits, a vegan also has several more rules to follow. A vegan cannot use any product made from the body parts of an animal such as leather, ivory, fur, and even pearls. They also cannot use products which have been tested on animals. Vegans are sometimes referred to as an animal’s greatest ally. Veganism originally started in India in the first century A.D.
Hindus did not become vegan because of deep religious reasons or for personal health reasons, “but because of environmental pressures. It became both uneconomical and unsanitary to raise animals in so crowded an environment”. (Seamen p. 5). Through the centuries veganism never really caught on due to lack of modern medicine and improper understanding of the functions of the human body.
Around the beginning of the twentieth century, it is thought that the discovery of vitamins and minerals gave birth to the idea of eating for optimum health and fitness, and thus, the rediscovery of veganism. Up through the 1900’s, more and more people started to say stop to the unfair torture of animals. Since the dawn of man, humans have used animals to their advantage. Animal flesh has been a good source of vitamins and protein. The skin was used for warmth and shelter.
Before several of the modern advances made by mankind, animals were needed to sustain human survival and prosperity. In today’s society, many of the products on our store shelves are tested on animals for safety reasons. Even with all the great uses there are for dead animals, modern nutrition and science has made so many new advancements in research that it has become completely unnecessary to kill any animal for any reason. Humans can survive solely on vegetation and supplementation. Animal testing is unnecessary due to new DNA and computer graphic research.
In this paper three major issues dealing with veganism will be discussed. Whether or not the vegan life style is healthier then the average way of life? Is animal testing necessary or should it be banned? And should animals be used in the entertainment industry? There is no reason to injure or kill animals for any reason. Americans as a society should be vegan. One major issue is whether or not the vegan lifestyle is healthier than the average way of life. The average way of life consists of the four major food groups: meat, dairy, grains, and fruits/vegetables.
In the vegan lifestyle, meat and dairy foods are cut out of the diet. From a nutritional standpoint, “animal food does have its advantages. For one thing it is nutrient-dense; it is a concentrated source of calories, protein, iron, zinc, copper, and in the case of dairy products, calcium.” (Seameons p.4) Veganism is actually much healthier than consuming meat and dairy products. Most people who become vegans use improper supplementation and will eventually make themselves sick. It is not denying the body meat that vegetarians and vegans have problems with, but instead a lack of calories.
The human body needs a certain balance of vitamins and minerals to sustain proper health. Usually, when a person decides to become a vegan, they make the transfer automatically. The transfer to veganism must be made slowly and in parts. First, it’s good to give up red meat, next give up all meats, poultry and fish. After about one year of this, eggs and dairy foods are given up.
Through all of this, vegans should take vitamins and protein supplements. The B-12 vitamin is essential and can naturally be found in only meat. Deficiencies of B-12 “can lead to pernicious, megaloblastic anemia, loss of appetite, fatigue, pallor, dizziness, numbness or tingling in the extremities, and impairment of brain and nerve tissue that may result in permanent neurologically damage. A major concern with B-12 deficiency is that it is not easily recognized before it has already caused physiological damage.” (Seameons p.4) As long as a person watches their vitamin intake, they will retain proper health. But even without monitoring vitamins and minerals, a person who leads a vegan lifestyle will still be healthier than a person who consumes meat.
John Robbins, in his new book May All Be Fed, suggests that the hazards of using animal foods, even the so- called healthier ones, are considerable: I am frequently asked what I think of eliminating red meat and substituting chicken and fish, cutting the skin off poultry and cooking it in oil without fat, eating primarily low- or non-fate dairy products, and restricting egg-yolk intake to two or three a week .. the data leads me to the conclusion that such a strategy is the equivalent of cutting smoking down to one pack a day. (Seameons p.2) When someone makes the switch to the vegan life style then must understand that: it is essential to eat a wide variety of yellow and green fruits and vegetables and different grains. If you do that plus make sure that you have an adequate source of vitamin B12 .. from fortified cereals, soy beverages, and nutritional yeast, or from a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement, you will be meeting all your nutritional needs. It really is not that hard.(Seameons p.3) The next major issue involved in veganism is whether or not animal testing should be banned. Animal testing is experimentation, using a variable and a controlled group in which household products and pharmaceuticals are given to animals to observe what results are obtained.
Another form of animal testing is dissection; this is the cutting apart of already dead animals for study in the classroom. The proponents to animal testing and dissection say that there are not enough proven alternatives to ensure the safety of new ingredients and products. Proponents say that in the classroom nothing can teach the realistics of anatomy as well as dissection. The major companies say that animal testing is necessary to ensure the safety of all people. The truth is, every year “more than 14 million dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, monkeys, and other animals suffer in products tests that lead to blindness, severe burns, and eventual death.” (Newkirk p.
10) Out of all of the companies which subject their products to animal testing, Procter & Gamble Inc. is the largest and kills the most animals: In Procter & Gamble (P), cosmetic and household product testing, caustic chemicals are forced into rabbits’ eyes and applied to their raw, shaved skin. Laboratory workers lock the rabbits in restraining devices so they are unable to move while chemicals burn into their eyes and skin. The rabbits are given no sedatives or pain killers to ease their suffering. They sometimes break their necks and backs in a desperate struggle to get away. Those who survive are used again ..
until they are finally killed. P&G’s innocent victims include rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and ferrets. Even though these tests are not required by law, P insists on continuing their torture. (Newkirk p. 14) Many of the finest biologists in the country say that dissection is of …